African Finance Corporation says the $230 million injected into 9mobile will lift turnaround of the Nigerian mobile network operator (MNO).
AFC, a pan-African multilateral development financial institution says the loan will be used to repay historic vendor obligations, finance costs and an interest reserve account and payment towards quick win capex initiatives.
For 9mobile formerly Etisalat Nigeria, the AFC loan comes just as the MNO counts the gains of a major customer retention campaign, the 9x Offer, which rewards subscribers with bonus airtime on their recharges for calls and data.
Meanwhile, AFC says it is convinced by initiatives so far taken by the new Board led by Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero and management headed by Acting Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet, to return the multi-award-winning mobile phone company to the path of growth and profitability through cost efficiency, innovative product development and network efficiency.
In a letter addressed to both Bayero and Beuvelet, the financial institution said that, “Africa Finance Corporation is pleased to inform Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services that it has received full Board approval to support the turnaround strategy of EMTS through a US$230 million super senior debt investment.”
The AFC, which announced the approval of the loan on Friday, August 23, this year, according to a statement by Abdulrahman Ado, Executive Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, 9mobile, and made available to Technology Times, was established to bridge Africa’s infrastructure investment gap through the provision of debt and equity finance, project development, technical and financial advisory services.
Commenting on the approval, the Board Chair, Alhaji Ado Bayero, expressed happiness that EMTS’ effort to recover previously ceded ground through an innovative growth plan is being supported by a prestigious Pan-African financial institution as the AFC.
“We can only express gratitude to the AFC for approving this loan facility that would not only help our business sustainability but also grow it to serve our teeming and loyal customers in Nigeria better. We have completely reviewed our operational, regulatory, financial and technical architecture to ensure we deliver quality services and this facility would go a long way in giving best in class services to Nigerians,” he said.
Ado Bayero further assured of the company’s resolve to continue its aggressive enhancement of network capacity and innovative features to guarantee optimum value to customers.
He added that “our turnaround efforts are well and truly underway. We had promised when we took over that we would justify the confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value Nigerians get for using 9mobile. This is part of fulfilling our promise.”
In addition, 9mobile’s Chief Financial Officer, Phillips Oki says that “the success of this transaction by way of the approval of the Board of Africa Finance Corporation is a sound affirmation of our belief that the fundamentals of the 9mobile business are indeed strong. It is also an attestation to the fact that the operational restructuring and financial reengineering we have done since we assumed ownership have launched 9mobile on the path of growth and profitability. With this facility, our subscribers, staff and vendors should get ready to switch on to better days with 9mobile. We will reclaim every lost ground in the market in the coming months.”
The new Board led by Alhaji Bayero took over 9mobile in November 2018 following a successful acquisition by Teleology Nigeria Limited.
Other members of the Board include non-executive directors, Asega Aliga, Mohammed Edewor and Winston Ndubueze Udeh. Executive Director, Abdulrahman Ado and Acting Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet.
9mobile also says its 9x Offer rewards customers who recharge more as they will get bonus airtime for all recharges of N200 and above.
For instance, a customer who recharges N200 will receive N1,800 bonus airtime, that is 9 times more value to make calls and browse online. Customers who are unable to recharge up to N200 will get 4x bonus airtime purchased, Ag. Director, Marketing Segment, 9mobile, Layi Onafowokan, says.
The company says it is a way of giving more to customers and expressing the value 9mobile places on every customer’s spend on the network, and “further reaffirms the telco as a caring brand that always seeks the best for its customers.”
Under the plan, new subscribers will automatically enjoy the Offer on their lines, while existing customers simply need to dial *611*20# to opt in. With this new offer, 9mobile customers get more value to do more on any network.